The Block Island Times

In Case You Haven't Heard

By Fran Migliaccio | May 22, 2012
WHERE WAS WILLARD SCOTT?—Dr. Walter Gasner celebrated turning 100 years old on May 6 with his wife, Shirley, and their four children, Mary, Doug, John, and Jane.

Not to miss
On Saturday, May 19, the annual St. Ann’s Tag Sale will set up shop on the lawn of the Harbor Church, starting at 10 a.m. The sale lasts until 2 p.m., but be forewarned that the best items go early! Treasures of every description, food to eat on the premises, baked goods and preserves to take away, are among the many fine offerings.
It has come to our attention that many scholarships and awards available to Block Island School students are simply not applied for. What a shame. We hope students and parents will take note that Fred Benson Scholarship applications can now be picked up at Ballard Hall Real Estate or from Michele Phelan (741-6577). Deadline for filing an application is June 8, 2012.
After last weekend’s preliminary opening, watch for the official Spring Street Gallery opening this weekend! Details will be announced, so stay tuned.
About town
Mabel’s restaurant celebrated its first birthday Monday, May 14, offering free fresh-roasted coffee to everyone, all day. Thank you, Diane Tripler and Donn Frageau, for staying open all winter to provide for all of us who crave “comfort food with a twist” at all times of the year.
While attending Mabel’s birthday at breakfast time, it was great to see Linda Pearson back on the island, working at Mabel’s that morning.
Friends and fans of Avery Kirby, and that would be all of us, will be interested to know that the ingenious Avery is still pursuing a patent for his Independence Walker, a multi-purpose, custom-built wooden tray/seat adaptable to any walker. Avery’s invention was profiled last year in these pages by Bruce Montgomery, and help with the patenting process has been given by lawyer Peter Saxon. Dependent on an aluminum walker since suffering a stroke in 2009, Avery invented his tray to “keep his ass warm” while recuperating at his son’s house — which, in Avery’s estimation, needed an extra log on the fire. Hence, the carrying capability of the Independence Walker. The tray evolved, and, in Montgomery’s words, “Could function as either a tray or a seat. And when the walker was folded up, the tray folded up, too.” That was in 2009. By 2011, “It was still a tray and a seat, but now it offered a cane holder and a place for a water bottle (or a Budweiser). It folded easily and could be adapted to any walker.”
As of this writing, Avery is off to Washington, D.C. with Peter Saxon to meet with the Patent Office.
We wish Avery all the best in his continuing pursuit of a patent for his design, which can offer help to many people in need of it. Right on, Avery!
A walk about town with friends a couple of weekends ago brought us all to the open door of the Surf Hotel. Delighted, we wandered inside, for two of the friends had stayed at the Surf in the 1960s, when they first came to the island.
Indoors and upstairs, the rooms looked beautifully the same — like going back in time. Manager Kimberly Afonso greeted us enthusiastically and, while auditioning a piano player for Thursday night piano bars, discussed her plans for bringing the Surf alive again with music on Fridays and Saturdays as well, as she reclaims Surf traditions by reaching out to people who stayed there for years and want to come back. “Stop in any time you see the door open, and say hello — I’d love to see you!” she concluded.
Block Island everywhere
The world of music recently sustained a major loss in the passing of conductor and violinist Hugo Fiorato, the father of Block Island’s Jim Fiorato, and a founding member of the WQXR String Quartet and a fixture with the New York City Ballet, who died on April 23 at the age of 97. Mr. Fiorato, born in Manhattan, was a child prodigy who began violin studies at age four and eventually became the conductor of the New York City Ballet and one of its most enduring influences. With the City Ballet for 56 years, Mr. Fiorato was a figure of continuity surpassed only by George Balanchine, who founded it in 1948.
To hear a performance by Mr. Fiorato and the WQXR String Quartet, go to this link:!/blogs/wqxr-blog/2012/apr/30/hugo-fiorato-founder-wqxr-string-quartet-dies-97/. Perhaps, like this listener who loves string music, you may be moved to tears.
Carl Reynolds, Jr. will return home from Tokyo this year, and will be on Block Island July 1 through 5 with his wife, Heather, to visit family. Carl is the grandson of Bobbie Beck Reynolds and Kip Reynolds.
Ashley Brown will graduate from Baylor University Medical School May 22, having previously attained an MBA at Rice University in 1-1/2 years. Writes proud dad Willis Brown, “After she completed her graduation requirements, they hired her again to research methods to reduce the effect of blood clots on the heart. She’ll work that job until mid-June, then move to California for her internship, which will start in July.” Ashley, 26, will be accompanied to California by her fiancé, who will seek a teaching job.
Willis adds information on the other three children in his remarkable family: “After just a few months with an international financial institute, Reina was hired and promoted by another financial firm to work as an underwriter at a much higher salary. Nicholas just bought a newly built home and posted a picture of it on Facebook as ‘My Bachelor Pad.’ Brentley did very well in Junior College this year, and will begin radiology studies next year.”
Congratulations to Peter Lensing, who ran his first Shad Bloom Race this year and finished 69th in a field of 200. Pete, a swimming athlete, found the Shad Bloom Race challenging, “tougher than the triathlon,” in which he also competes. Peter is the grandson of Joanne and “Hutch” Hutchins of Old Town Road.
Lovely Greta Beck Hunziker graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Eckerd College in Sarasota, Fla., earlier this month. Greta is the daughter of Susan Reynolds Dwyer and Bob Hunziker, and the stepdaughter of Pat Dwyer.
Daniel Webster Reynolds graduated this year from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dan is the son of proud parents Troy Reynolds and Maureen McIntyre Reynolds McAdams. Dan’s brother, Jack Martin Reynolds, graduated from Nauset Regional High School in North Eastham, Mass. Accepted at several colleges, Jack plans to attend junior college near Amherst, then transfer to the University of Massachusetts.
Congratulations to Carol Leslie, who was confirmed as an Episcopalian on May 6 at St. Ann’s-by-the-Sea, with the Right Reverend Geralyn Wolf, Bishop of Rhode Island, officiating.
Warmest wishes to Jane and Tony Musante on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. The Musantes were wed June 2, 1962, in New York City at The Little Church Around the Corner, aka the Church of the Transfiguration.
Of cakes and candles
Belated happy returns of the day to George Mellor, who celebrated his birthday May 12.
Happy birthdays to Lonni Todd and Monty Stover, May 18, the day this paper hits the street; Isabelle duPont, May 20; Bobby Leone, the ageless Roberta Thornton, and Frank Leslie (who will be 87, would you believe) on May 21; Pat Queally, May 22; Annika Richter, May 23; Bobbie Beck Reynolds, who celebrates her 70th on May 27; Nancy Starr Gorman, May 31; Johno Sisto and Connie La Rue, June 2.
Let us know what’s happening! Visiting relatives, special occasions, updates on friends near and far, projects… Deadline is Tuesday morning, and Fran can be reached at 466-2892 or

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